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The Scandinavian country of Sweden, located in northern Europe, has the most number of islands in the world – a staggering 221,800 of them! In addition to thousands of islands, Sweden also has around 100,000 lakes, snow-capped mountains, Baltic Sea beaches and boreal forests. The Nordic nation is also a popular destination to witness the northern lights and the midnight sun.
Known as “beauty on water“, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is located on the Baltic Sea coast, spread across 14 islands which are connected by bridges. Stockholm is a modern city with world-class public transportation, great food and interesting museums and galleries. While you are in the capital, make sure to stroll through the colorful streets of Gamla Stan, the old town, lined with Scandinavian styled buildings. Here, you will also come across the spectacular Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) which has over 600 rooms and impressive medieval cathedrals. Stockholm is home to the world’s first open-air museum – Skansen. Located a short tram ride away from the city centre, the museum showcases the country’s way of life before the industrial era. The commercial city district of Norrmalm is known for Swedish fashion and design shops, and also houses the Royal Swedish Opera and National Museum. Another iconic landmark site in the city is the Stockholm City Hall, an architectural marvel of Sweden known for its signature brick tower.
The island of Sodermalm is located to the south of Stockholm’s city centre and known for indie boutiques, vintage stores and museums and galleries. Other than these highlights, Stockholm is home to excellent museums like Vasamuseet, Nordiska Museet, Moderna Museet, Millesgarden and Historiska Museet. From Stockholm, you can reach the island of Gotland by taking a ferry.
Located around 230km away from the capital, Gotland is the largest island in the Baltic Sea. Known for its surreal landscape and rich archaeological treasures, the island attracts lots of visitors. The well-preserved UNESCO world heritage listed medieval town of Visby is the main town in Gotland and walking through its cobbled streets will transport you back centuries ago.
Sweden’s second-largest city Gothenburg is located southwest of Stockholm and is known for its Neoclassical architecture and Dutch-style canals. Regarded as an important seaport in the country, Gothenburg also hosts a wide range of cultural or social events. Sweden’s third city Malmo lies in the south of Gothenburg about 270km away. The main highlights of the city are the neo-futurist styled Turning Torso, the tallest building in the Scandinavia region and the Oresund Bridge connecting Malmo to Copenhagen, Denmark. Malmo’s other highlights are its Dutch-Renaissance buildings, the cobblestone city square Lilla Torg with its cafes and shops and the Malmo Castle.
In the heart of Sweden lies Ostersund, a remote lakeside town with excellent food culture. This UNESCO certified ‘city of gastronomy‘ is the gateway for exploring the Norrland region. Kiruna, the northernmost Swedish city, is a great place to watch the northern lights and the midnight sun. It is also famous for the Ice Hotel at the Jukkasjärvi village and the Kiruna Church displaying indigenous Sami architecture. The coastal university city of Lulea is another popular destination in this region. Lulea’s main highlight is the UNESCO world heritage listed Gammelstaden, Sweden’s largest church town and a medieval centre with several historical wooden churches.
Sweden’s true beauty lies in its natural treasures. It is one of the few countries in the world, from where you can witness the mesmerizing natural phenomena of the northern lights and the midnight sun and Abisko National Park is the best place in the county to experience that. Located in the Lapland region, Abisko is a 75-sq-km park that offers breathtaking scenery. While people visit the park in the winter season to witness the northern lights and indulge in various winter adventures, in summer, it becomes a hiking paradise and midnight sun watching haven.
While Sweden’s unmatched natural treasure attracts many visitors, some people visit the country to experience its Nordic culture and historical wealth. Overall, it doesn’t matter why you’re visiting the country, a trip to Sweden will surely give you memories to rejoice for a lifetime.
Sweden is a popular destination to witness the northern lights and the midnight sun.